Technology’s influence over the business world has caused an undeniable shift in the way modern professionals conducts their working lives.
Cloud-based servers and remote desktop software has meant that employees can work efficiently from pretty much anywhere. So, many ask, can the physical office survive in the digital age?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I believe the office will and should remain an integral part of most businesses. While the advancement of these technologies means that flexible working will become more commonplace in the coming years, the need for human contact will not diminish.
In fact, it is what will define the workplace of the future. In the simplest of terms, people like being with other people.
This week, the best workplaces in London and the South East were recognised at the annual British Council for Offices (BCO) regional property sector awards. These offices demonstrated a variety of achievements in architecture and design, from showing the best ways to work with refurbished and recycled materials, to demonstrating the value of a truly impressive fit out.
However, many of these workplaces share a common theme: they contain a whole host of innovative design ideas to aid human interaction and flexibility throughout the space.
Gallery: The Leadenhall Building
The Leadenhall Building (or Cheesegrater to many of us), for example, contains intelligent lifting and core arrangements which allow the building’s layout to change the higher it gets, capable of delivering a variety of internal environments for a diverse tenant mix.
This is ideal for the modern workplace, as it provides the flexibility needed to ensure that an organisation’s office design works hard for all employees.
Many buildings now also offer a combination of quiet, insular space to encourage concentrated working, as well as breakout areas where collaborative interactions can take place.
CMS’s offices in Cannon Street are a perfect example of this. In a brave move the occupier transformed its approach both to the client areas and, in particular, the working office floors. A new staircase connects the amenity areas to the open‐plan legal floors, providing spacious working environments for collaboration and discussion in conjunction with more private spaces.
The workplaces of the future will be focused primarily on human interaction and flexibility. It’s crucial that organisations engage their workforce when designing a new office space to ensure that the office not only meets the expectations of their employees, but also works hard to ensure the organisation is as productive as possible. Ultimately, it must be a place where employees choose to work.